St Albans Diocese’s ‘Living Churchyards Day’ wins National Lottery support
4th February 2019
St Albans Diocese has received a National Lottery grant of £7,500 for an exciting heritage project which will spread good practice in managing churchyards for the benefit of wildlife and people
A one day event, made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, will be held in Potton, Bedfordshire, in July 2019 to draw people from churches and communities across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. They will learn about how best to care for their churchyards to benefit wildlife and local communities at the same time bearing in mind the needs of bereaved families and visitors to graves. The day will provide useful information and expertise through workshops, talks and providing printed materials to take away.
The successful application was made with help from the charity, ‘Caring for God’s Acre,’ which supports groups and individuals to investigate, care for and enjoy burial grounds.
The St Albans Living Churchyard Day will bring together people from across the 1100 square miles of the diocese. During the day they will learn about the natural, built and cultural heritage of local burial sites from experts in the various fields. Participants will leave better informed on how to best care for the heritage contained within their burial sites and how they can share what has been learnt with others from their communities.
Churchyards are often the only unimproved grassland within a parish and are recognised for their rich and diverse natural heritage, from species-rich old grassland, to veteran and ancient yew trees and lichen covered stonework. The animals associated with these ancient sites, which are usually the oldest enclosed piece of land in a parish, are of equal importance to the plant life and dependent on it – bees, butterflies and other insects, amphibians and reptiles, small mammals and birds, including some species which are now endangered. Correct management is essential for their survival.
The man-made heritage of the historic stonework of the church, monuments, memorials and boundary walls is important for the architectural style, inscriptions, local history of the people and their community, and for their geology and lichens.
The heritage of burial sites is also important to our culture and to cultural traditions such as those around death, burial and remembrance.
Commenting on the award, Judith Evans said “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players. We hope that the event will lead to more churchyards being managed in a wildlife-friendly way and inspire participants to share the rich heritage of their churchyard with the local community.”
Booking for the day will be essential and opens in April: click here for further information.